A girl turned five in custody on Monday after she was taken as a hostage by regime forces who were unable to track down her father, an anti-coup activist from Mandalay’s Mogok region.
Su Htet Wine was detained on June 13 at her home in the village of Bamun along with her 44-year-old mother and 17-year-old sister. Their whereabouts are unknown.
The father, Soe Htay, is a local protest leader in the village and a striking teacher. He is in hiding with his 24-year-old daughter and a teenage son and is wanted for incitement under section 505a of the Penal Code.
“They won’t get a chance to threaten me directly,” he told Myanmar Now. “I am currently in hiding and have cut off all my communications with people, including close friends.”
Su Htet Wine joined him at several anti-coup protests, and appears in one picture holding an image of detained State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi at a march.
“Of course, she doesn’t understand any politics,” Soe Htay said. “It’s not an age where anyone could commit any crimes.”
“She joined the protests just because she wanted to ask them not to detain Pwar Pwar Suu, who is someone she admires,” he added, using a term of endearment that means grandmother.
“I am not surprised anymore that they even arrested a young child. They will do anything to make us afraid and to submit to their rule,” he said.
Since the February 1 coup, the military has arrested many family members and friends of activists, striking civil servants, and National League for Democracy members.
As of early June, over 70 people have been detained as hostages, the youngest being just two years old.
Dozens of children are among the at least 883 civilians who have been killed by the regime’s forces. At least 6,399 people have been arrested for opposing the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
Source – Myanmar Now